An elderly person with an out-dated hearing aid saying “what’s that sonny”, is what many people think about when hearing loss is mentioned. Hearing loss affects more than just your ability to hear and has increased sharply among all age groups. Alarming repercussions result from failing to get it taken care of. It’s worth getting your hearing checked based solely on these four.
1. Mental Decline
There is an association between hearing loss and other health problems, although you might not have previously known about them. Brain health and cognitive function are the most significant examples. There is evidence that some conditions people associate with aging, like memory loss, might really be caused by hearing decline.
The brain has a fantastic ability to adapt to sensory changes, but that backfires when it comes to hearing loss. The brain can understand sound that is processed through the inner ear when hearing is normal. The difference between the music playing on your car radio and the music the ice cream truck plays as it heads down the street is sorted out by this mechanism.
Each microsecond, the brain encounters sound even if you don’t notice it. Air hissing in through a vent and other background sounds are all around you even if you are resting in a quiet room. Your brain filters it out because it decides you don’t need to hear it.
The brain comes to count on this stimulus. When there is loss of hearing, suddenly it doesn’t receive the same quantity or quality of sound. Thinking the missing sound should still be there, it strains to find it. The stress on the brain and absence of stimuli can result in cognitive decline that raises your chances of dementia later in your life. Studies show that memory loss and cognitive decline is about 40 percent greater in seniors who suffer from hearing loss. Even more compelling, people who suffer from hearing loss that get treatment such as hearings aids have been shown to enhance cognitive function.
2. Gut Problems
That’s not as much of a stretch as it seems. The changes you experience due to hearing loss have been associated with side effects like:
- Muscle tension
- Upset stomach
The constant strain can cause intestinal issues like:
- Abdominal cramps
More severe conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome will happen as your discomfort increases.
3. Mental Health Concerns
More than likely, the most apparent side effect is the affect hearing loss has on your mental health. A 2014 study found that in adults below the age of 70, an increase in depression correlates to a loss of hearing.
People who suffer from hearing loss have a hard time communicating with others, according to JAMA Otolaryngology Neck Surgery, and that most likely accounts for the depression. The research shows that depression is more pronounced in women between the ages of 18 to 69.
Over the years, many mental health conditions have been connected to untreated hearing loss such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of focus
People stop trying if they can’t communicate effectively and that causes sadness and psychological stress.
4. Relationship Troubles
Hearing loss impacts more than just your physical and mental health. Statistically, people make less money if they have hearing loss. A 2007 study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute found individuals with untreated hearing loss make on average 20,000 dollars less a year than their hearing colleagues.
Personal relationships also suffer because of hearing loss. A 2007 survey found 35 percent of the respondents had a hard time maintaining relationships if they suffered from hearing loss. The survey showed:
- Forty-three percent of men indicated that hearing loss caused relationship problems
- Thirty-seven percent of women surveyed reported being irritated when someone with hearing loss wasn’t listening to them
- Thirty-five percent of men reported they agreed to treatment for hearing loss because their spouse or partner pressured them into it
- Most women indicated that hearing loss was a significant concern when communicating with friends and family members.
Hearing loss affects your health, your self-esteem, and your relationships. When you get hearing aids many of these side effects go away and that’s good news. Schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to find out what course of action will work best for you.